New Year’s Resolutions are not my thing, but I think it never hurts to pause for a moment and see how 2014 is coming along. And so we have Payal’s Self Assessment.  

I knew I’d be up for some challenges this year when I survived New Year’s Eve on a cruise in the middle of the Bosphorus in Istanbul - sick with food poisoning, green in the face from motion sickness, fever and frozen to the bones.  It’s amazing what you can force your body to endure if you put your mind to it.  - By no means am I saying I’d like such a challenge again, let’s be real, I’m only 5ft tall, barely 100lbs, I may not survive.  

I’ve realized, I’m a bit spunky, goofy and a total child at heart and you know what? I’m totally okay with it.  I’ve learned to stop taking life so seriously, because I’m not a deep in thought melodramatic person. Dramatic - yes - especially when it involves any form of bugs or furry friends but I leave the melodrama to my Soap Operas and Bollywood movies.   I laugh like my 4 year old nephew and have no shame in shopping in the “kids” section of Macy’s.  On what level is ANYONE going to take me seriously…clearly I am not - so why you.

I could really work on trying to grow a little more. I need that extra inch or two so I can stop having to pay for alterations on all my pants. If one must insist - there maybe be some areas for me to work on:

  • Patience has never been my strong point - Thank you Jaykishan for forcing me to learn patience - kicking and screaming that is :) but I am learning it
  • Worry Less - oh yes, this child at heart tends to worry over the most ridiculous things i.e. the other day I passed a person with a flat tire on the road and kept thinking “what if no one stops to help them, will they find a ride home or get help” Yes, I totally could have stopped and lent a helping hand but I’m not trying to make the 5’oclock news headlines for any highway attacks. 
  • Washing my Car -That’s right, I seriously put this on my list of areas to improve.  For as long as I can remember, my dad always taught me to keep a clean car.  We keep our homes clean and organized why should our car be any different. I may not have the newest or flashiest model car around but there is a pride in a clean car that goes far beyond just shiny tires and spotless windows. So yes, I need to wash my car more often.  
  • I asked Jaykishan for this bullet point - he stated - I need to not let my emotions build up until I become my own version of Mt. Helen. Soooo I suppose when I’m upset, I should just let it out, instead of letting all that lava build up. He’s probably saying this for his own safety but we’ll take it into consideration :)   

But in all seriousness, I could really really use the extra inch or two in height, I really must stop being on a first name basis with the local tailor. 

Aside from my personal assessment, 2014 has been wonderful to date.  I’ve travelled a bit, seen hard work pay off in the office space, avoided any serious illnesses and had good times with family and friends.  Anything more and I’d be getting a little selfish.

Another year means another family wedding…of epic proportions.  Last year Pooja and Vinay gave March Madness a whole new definition.  This year Arjun and Versha took exotic to a new level, as titled - their wedding was “exotically epic. From elephants to snake charmers and everything in between as cliche as at it sounds “this wedding had it all”.  

I could story tell every event into the early morning hours.  Instead, I’ll sum up what was three unforgettable days into my Cliff’s Notes version of bullet points.  

  • Forget Pete’s Dualing Pianos - the Srivastava’s hosted a Sangeet night that put Bollywood to shame.  Full on competition between the two sides, sitting across from each other.  For all my Bollywood friend’s take a trip down memory lane to the Hum Apke Hain Kaun scene jamming out to “Samne Samdhan Hai” 
  • Haldi Ceremony with a Twist - oh yes, at a time in the stone ages it may have been that only married women and “bhabis” could put “haldi” on the groom.  Not anymoreeee - all of us sisters got to join in on making Arjun “fair and lovely” for his bride.  But wait, there’s more, forget the moms, the bhabis and the sisters. Arjun’s brothers and brothers in laws joined in on the ceremony as well. Equal opportunity people, equal opportunity.  Needless to say, Arjun came out looking very “glowing” for his bride.  
  • Special shout out to Arjun for being the best brother ever and waiting for me to get back from sister duties before starting the Haldi Ceremony - made my heart melt - every wedding has to have a soft spot moment - this was mine 
  • Bharaat 101 - In the event Versha were to have any confusion as to where her handsome groom was, Arjun made sure to arrive in style.  By style, I mean, perched atop a 2 ton elephant with his jaan dancing in front of him. Our elephant was nothing short of a high demand hollywood actor.  Striking poses at every chance and tapping a foot to the beat - Turn Down for What! 
  • Major kudos to our incredible DJ, not only did he get all of us in the bharaat warmed up but made sure and taught our diverse crowd a few Bollywood dance moves as well.  Cue - “screw the light bulb” and “jersey fist pump”   
  • Wedding with a view - whats that? Oh that’s right, the backdrop for the wedding was a scene straight out a Hollywood Chick Flick - gorgeous sunny day, ocean views, Mandap set on top of a hill at the Ritz - an insanely good looking couple tying the knot  - no big deal - oh forget it - its a huge deal, let’s be real most of us will never attend a wedding this beautiful again - yes I’m biased and quite clearly very dramatic
  • Reception of Exotic Proportions - as with most receptions, we had entrances, speeches, a toast, side of belly dancers and snake charmers.  No,the reception did not take place in a far east land but for a moment the ballroom was transformed into our own version of the best Morocco could offer. My highlight however, Texas Two-Stepping it to some good ole country music! And now, we have seen it all.  

As always, the days were hectic, time was too short but we have memories for a lifetime! Congrats again Arjun and Versha!

Before I begin my entry, I must make note that it appears I took a involuntary Sabbatical from my blog since my Turkey trip.  It’s no joke when people say “time flies”. Didn’t realize it has been months since the last time I wrote. Let’s see how rusty I have got!

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  • 6 wedding outfits - packed
  • Matching Jewelry and Bangles - sorted and organized
  • Endless Bindi options - extra glue in tow 
  • India size suitcase - zipped and packed to the max

No, I’m not packing for a Royal Wedding - we missed the RSVP deadline for Prince William’s and Prince Harry can’t seem to decide if he wants to settle down or not, so who knows when that will happen. BUT, I am all set for another Epic Patel Family wedding! Arjun and Versha will finally be tying the knot!  

Oh yes, believe it or not, little Nintendo playing Arjun is all grown up and has won his Princess. I guess there was something to learn from Super Mario Bros. 1, 2 and 3. 

A wedding in our family means: 

  • Epic proportions of…everything - Kimye? Child Please
  • Hijacked phones - Sorry Jack Bauer, we’ve got you beat
  • Family Time - Modern Family meet the Brady Bunch
  • Fun and Games - Olympic Trash Pong winners

With so many of us living all over the States, these family events are magnets that bring us all together.  The days are hectic, time is always too short but the memories last a lifetime. And on that sentimental note, time to go get this brother married!  

If there’s two things I write more about on this blog than anything else,  it’s this: travels and weather.  I feel like if I’m not traveling then I must be complaining about the extreme weather conditions I live in.  

From my emotional distraught, one would think I spend my summers in the Sahara and my winters in the most northern corners of the Arctic.  Alas, I am merely in Dallas, Texas.  But really, it can be brutal! This winter has been exceptionally brutal at that.  Mind you, I even had small reprieve when I went to India for a few weeks - only to be welcomed back by the Polar Vortex.

I’m all for getting bundled up and looking cute in my Ugg Boots and knitted beanies but let’s be real.  It’s time to shed those layers and enjoy throwing on a simple t-shirt and shorts.  Flip flops seem as ancient as when King Tut and Cleopatra first sported them on the streets of ancient Egypt. Naked toes in strappy sandals….what a concept…how foreign it feels.  

Old man winter you have long over stayed your welcome.  I exile you for the next 10 months only to return in time for a white Christmas.  What’s that? OH, that’s right, I have no such powers.  Here I am, frozen toes and all, praying for Jaykishan to fall asleep sooner rather than later,so I can secretly turn the thermostat a few degrees warmer in hopes for summer dreams as I sleep. 

As I’d mentioned in my last post, there were a couple of “once in a lifetime” type of moments - so here they are! 

  • New Year’s Eve! Spending NYE on a party cruise on the Bosphorus between two continents – mind you this was while I was still suffering from the food poisoning – I think Jaykishan owes me a few favors after I soldiered this for him
  • Turkish Bath! Oh yes, I did a Turkish Bath and I felt like I  was reborn afterwards – by far the best experience ever! (okay I might be a bit biased since having someone bathe you is not for everyone).  I was hesitant to go to the one of the local Hamams(places of Turkish Bath).  I had kept going back and forth on it and after reading that you have to fully undress and someone scrubs you down - Swedish massage, I’m there, but I just couldn’t bring myself to try it.  So, I figured I’d settle for a massage with the hotel spa.  While I was looking through the menu of options I was told that they have a Hamam in the spa for Turkish Baths.  Initially, I was like “nope, I’m a conservative  spa goer, not really sure about this being naked stuff”. Their staff did an excellent job of explaining to me that only one person can be in the Hamam at the time so there’s full privacy, no one else, and I can wear my bathing suit if it makes me more comfortable.  **Enter JayKishan: Do one thing that takes you out of your comfort zone every trip. ** And so, I put both feet in and jumped in! I have to give major kudos to the Renaissance Spa for the absolutely incredible staff that they have!
  • International Date Night! – By our last night my stomach was starting to feel somewhat functional – while I was getting all reborn at the Spa – my romantic husband(oh he’s going to kill me for saying that) But I think he deserves major points for this. Back to my story – So while I was gone he went and did some research and found out that the Istanbul Museum of Modern art has this great restaurant right on the Bosphorus and reserved us a table with a water view.  It’s one experience to be on the Bosphorus and an experience all its’ own sitting at a candle lit table taking in the lights of the city over dinner! From where I was sitting, I could see the lights from Topkapi Palace and the Blue Mosque, one of the most surreal moments I have had.  

Now it’s time to go through all the pictures and get a few posted on here!